With the buzz currently going on in country music circles over The Band Perry, you might think they had just come on the scene. But although this all-sibling group is young (the youngest is a scant 21), it’s actually been a slow ride to the limelight for them. The Band Perry officially formed in 2005, when Kimberly Perry was 21, and brothers Reid and Neil were both still in their teens. They were “discovered” by Garth Brooks’ manager in 2008, and cut their debut (and still only) record, The Band Perry, in 2010, which has garnered them two Grammy nominations, as well as New Artist of the Year awards in both the CMA and the ACM. (Can anyone keep those two organizations straight? Anyhow…)
Regardless of their slow climb to the top, it’s obvious that this band has something on the ball, and is no doubt destined for the kind of superstardom that country bands like Sugarland, Dixie Chicks and Rascal Flatts have achieved. It’s only a matter of time.
But there’s something more about The Band Perry that I see—a youthfulness, a freshness that I believe just might shape the future of country music.
Country music is one of the most successful genres in the world, and possibly the one genre least affected in its bottom line by the digital revolution. It’s one genre where mainstream radio continues to play a major role in the success of its artists, and it has one of the largest and most loyal fan bases of any other music style. But let’s face it—a large part of its fan base is the older crowd, fans who have been buying country records for many years. (Heck, when the rock bands of yesteryear are getting re-classified as “country” when they get older, that says something about the perceived age bracket.) Even while young stars like Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood are helping to keep country strong, it is often still viewed as a genre for the thirty-somethings and above.
And so, over the past few years, we can see people attempting to rejuvenate the genre by various means, to make it more appealing to the next generation—usually by infusing it with pop, rock, and sometimes (heaven help us) even rap. In other words, the “country” part of the sound is sort of getting lost in the mix of other sounds. Not saying this is all bad—just saying the boundaries between country and other genres are getting more blurry while country music tries to figure out where it fits in the 21st Century.
But here’s what I like about The Band Perry: they are young, but they are most definitely country. They sound like a young country band; you can hear their music and know what genre you’re listening to. They have somehow managed to infuse a youthful vibe into their music, drawing occasionally from pop/rock elements without actually migrating into pop or rock. It’s very refreshing to hear, especially for “old-school” country buffs like me. That’s why I think The Band Perry represents the future of the genre: they have made country itself young again, blazing a trail that hopefully other young acts will follow.
That being said—guys, it’s time for another record already. More, please.
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Posted in: Country Music